Congressman Don Young and Anne Young stopped by the Division of Elections in Anchorage on Tuesday and filed for the 2022 election. Young has been Alaska’s member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1973 and is the longest continuously serving member of the House.
In 2017, Young became Dean of the House, the longest-serving representative and the first Republican dean in more than 80 years. In 2019, Congressman Young made history after becoming the longest-serving Republican in American history to serve in Congress.
In the 117th Congress, Young is Republican leader of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, in addition to his roles as the most senior member of both the Transportation and Natural Resources Committees.
“There is no doubt that this has been a difficult time for our state. The pandemic has devastated our tourism economy, the new Administration has forced new resource exploration to grind to a halt, and extremists from the Lower 48 have only grown emboldened in their goal of locking up Alaska,” Young said. “With attacks coming at our state on all fronts, Alaska needs a proven leader to stand up and fight for the people of our great state. This is not the time to take risks on someone untested and unproven. That is why I have officially filed for reelection to serve as Congressman for All Alaska in the 118th Congress.”
He continued, “I always say that this has never been about Don Young. This is about Alaska and the people who call our great state home. My constituents need and deserve representation that listens to them and brings the Alaskan perspective to DC; that has always been my mission as your Congressman. Together, we have secured many wins for Alaska. Whether it is constructing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, strengthening the fishing industry, obtaining funding for Alaska’s infrastructure, or working together to protect Alaska Native subsistence rights and culture, I have proven how to get big things done.”
Young was elected in a special election following the presumed death of Rep. Nick Begich, whose flight disappeared en route from Anchorage to Juneau. A teacher and riverboat captain, Young served in the U.S. Army, and later as mayor of Fort Yukon. He was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1966 and served from 1967-1971 and in the Alaska Senate from 1971-1973.
In December, Young filed for reelection with the Federal Elections Commission, but candidates for federal office must also file with the State Division of Elections, and by doing so on Tuesday, Young answered the question on the minds of many politicos: Will he run again?
Although he has served for 47 years, this will be the first time he’ll face a jungle primary ballot, which means candidates of all parties and nonparties appear on the same ballot. The general election ballot will also be new in 2022, as it will require voters to rank their preferences from 1 to 4 of the four top vote getters from the primary. The new voting scheme comes from Ballot Measure 2, passed by voters in 2020 after a dark-money campaign by Outside liberal forces targeted Alaska.